Visiting United States Senator Jim Webb, US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations met Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, congratulated Thailand’s first female premier on her election and expressed readiness to work with the new Thai government.
The influential US lawmaker also visiting heads of state, foreign policy, military and business officials in Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam Aug 12-25.Ms Yingluck welcomed Sen Webb, Chairman of the US Senate’s Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, at the Thai Ku Fah Building at Government House.
Mr Webb said he came to congratulate Ms Yingluck who officially assumed her post only last Monday, and expressed hope that both the US and Thailand will coordinate their bilateral cooperation and further foster the already strong relations between the two countries.
Welcoming the return to normalcy in Thailand after last year’s violence, the Virginia senator said Thailand had taken another step in democracy and that the US is ready to work with her new government. Meanwhile, Ms Yingluck said that Mr Webb wanted to see the peaceful solution to the political crisis in Thailand and leading to the reconciliation and the US was ready to support Thailand in various fields.
The White House earlier said that the US President Barack Obama had also congratulated Ms Yingluck on her election and the Thai people on the success of the democratic process.In a telephone conversation, the White House said, Mr Obama and Ms Yingluck had underscored the enduring nature of the US-Thailand friendship and alliance, and pledged to strengthen the bilateral relationship and work together to ensure peace and stability in the Asia Pacific. MCOT online news
As a major foreign actor in Thailand, U.S. policy toward the Kingdom is closely watched by Thai opinion leaders. Following the 2006 coup in Thailand, American policy seemed to indicate that Washington provided support for the Thai military, even though, in the long run, the coup produced only more chaos.
Total investment in the first five months of this year has already surpassed Bt200 billion, with 725 new project applications with total investment value of Bt208 billion. This amount accounts for more than half of the total target for the entire year 2011 of Bt400 billion. Foreign investment grew by 64 per cent while investment by SMEs expanded by 525 per cent.
China is the second largest investor with Bt20.5 billion in investment value, accounting for 15 per cent of the total FDI. One of the major projects is a Bt19 billion car tire production project.
Unlike in 2006, the U.S. cannot this time even tacitly tolerate a coup, since the Thai military already has shown, in 2006 and 2007, that a coup will only set back the country’s economy and democratic progress badly. A coup this time should result in the kind of harsh condemnation of the military’s actions though some American analysts worry that such a condemnation would push Thailand closer to China.
Investment in Thailand from the United States ranked third.
Despite its total value of only Bt3.373 billion during the first five months of the year, the US also invested Bt3.191billion in a mining equipment and machinery production project, and Bt4.372 billion in a backhoe production project, through Singaporean companies. The aggregated Bt10.936 billion investment value has placed the US third on the list.
The USTR in its report released on April 30, maintained Thailand on its PWL for 2011 which has been unchanged since 2007
Thailand was disappointed over the ranking, and reiterated that the Thai government has attached importance on intellectual property rights protection and has continuously suppress violators in the past, the government, therefore, plans to write a letter to USTR and enquire about the country’s status which was kept unchanged for 2011.
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